Author’s program note. Men, it’s time for your annual Valentine’s Day update and reminder. For, as you will recall, Valentine’s Day (along with her dog Pookie’s birthday) is the most important event of her year. If you get it right (or as right as any man can get this minefield) you’re in like Flynn for another year; your right to nookie safe and secure for another 365 glorious days. But… if you muff this, like you did last year and the year before that, you are in for another prolonged rough patch… and you know very well how rough that will be. To avoid this fate worse than death, extreme measures are required, and these extreme measures must be taken NOW! Men, have I got your full attention? Your Love Doctor is here for you… and OMG, you know you need it.
As we have discussed in prior years (and many of you have attended this critical training year after year, with, sad to say, spotty results) Valentine’s Day is a world-wide conspiracy. It first began as the brainchild of a highly paid consultant who was charged with the task of selling a particularly noxious chocolate with a vile, disgusting taste… That didn’t bother the consultant at all; it was the kind of challenge he lived for.
Even the fact that the chocolatier couldn’t pay him even a token amount up front didn’t bother our fearless consultant one iota. He still inked a contract that said he’d receive 25% of the gross on all new business stimulated by his best ideas. In other words, he would (in the best macho consultant tradition) forgo certain (albeit lower) payment in return for a whopping share of the gross… and so long as he could move the obnoxious chocolate that everybody loathed… he’d be a big winner.
Frankly, the folks at the chocolate company (who pretty much loathed their product, too, and banned it from the company candy machine) thought they’d made the perfect deal. After all, they got the consultant to work for them for free… and gave away revenues that didn’t exist, would probably never exist. But before claiming a huge write-off and throwing the offending chocs in the garbage, they needed – so their accountant said – to give it the Good Ol’ College Try.
His name was Valentine…
Now our audacious consultant sat down to business, and because he was a very clever fellow, the ideas flowed fast and furious. Thus after just a few days, the consultant was ready to see the CEO and present the all-important concept. As it turned out not only was this meeting important for the chocolate company; it was a crucial turning point in the relations of all men with their women… it thereby launched a movement creating millions of jobs and huge corporate profits worldwide.
The consultant’s name was Valentinos Kariotes… known as Val… and he is the man who set the high standards for Valentine’s Day…
Yes, it is because of this single man and his insight that the conjugal rights and ecstasies of millions of hapless guys are put at risk every single friggin’ year, to be reaffirmed by shelling out for chocolate, making ever richer the corporate smarty pants who dreamed up this baby.
Down to business.
Val, a straight talking, no nonsense, “let’s stick to business” kind of guy got right to the point. To sell the chocs everyone acknowledged as disgusting, they’d have to have a bigger idea, something huge, clever, larger than life… here Val paused… because he knew that his next words would not only sell chocolates nobody could abide, but get men by the millions to line up in front of the company’s packed stores to plunk down big bucks for a product they despised.
Before stating what would become his abiding claim to fame, Val paused, looked around the room, the better to get their attention and keep the memory of this supreme moment forever green in his mind. Then he said
“To sell chocolates you must get women to tell men that the purchase of these chocolates and the size of the box will be construed by every gal on earth as an indication of how ardently they are desired, loved, and wanted. In short, the target for their advertising campaign would not be the men who would actually buy the chocolates… but the women who would ‘motivate’ them to do so, in EVERY way at their command. Yes, in EVERY way.”
Val then unveiled his first ad, a classic soon destined for the Advertising Hall of Fame. It went like this:
“The size of the box”, it read, “indicates how much he loves you.”
The image showed two boxes of chocolate. The five-pound box had a big black X through it. The 20-pound box was circled in a bright, bright red heart with exclamation point.
Val’s incredible idea at last gave women what they have always wanted, for thousands of years: a way to know, to measure, even weigh just how much their menfolk REALLY love them; the proof to be as easy to acquire as the simple purchase of chocolates.
“Brilliant” was the least of it.
In the lives of each of us, there come but a handful of moments of transcendence, moments of destiny, moments you are surpassingly glad to be alive. Our man Val knew such a moment this day… and as the astonished executives surged around him with their most ardent congratulations, they knew it, too. And immediately increased the box size and weight of their obnoxious product… for they knew at once that Val, their boy, was a genius. And so unanimously voted to create a day named for him – St. Valentine’s Day – a day worth billions to love capitalists worldwide. It was the least they could do. And so Val got filthy rich.
Every time a woman got a two-pound box of chocs from her beloved, she knew that the donor was dead meat, a cheap , two-timin’ low-life… who had then to go out and at once to get the 20 pound box… thereby passing the loved test… and making Val richer and richer still. Eureka!
Of course, other companies watched this phenomenon, this cornucopia of riches with the closest conceivable attention; Val ensured they did, for in due course, he made sweet deals with florists, pastry companies, every diamond purveyor in the land… always with the same awesome results.
Which is why you’ll live today like a cat on a hot tin roof, spending good money you don’t have to appease the little woman who controls your life. Be sure, too, to sing “My Funny Valentine” the right way, the feminist way, with the words about you, not her, for women have always hated this tune and its cock-eyed sentiment.
Thus, “my looks are laughable, unphotographable… ” because that’s what she wants you to say, just after she’s looked at the size of the box.
(You’ll find the inimitable “My Funny Valentine”, released 1940, in any search engine; music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart. I prefer the original version – and the original words – by Frank Sinatra.)